M.A. Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology

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1 M.A. Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology Rationale The need to deal with hurdles in order to successfully transition through life has always been there. However, the pressures to cope have increased in the recent past. The reasons for the intensified demands have come from the fast changing social, cultural and economic environments with which people come into contact. The processes of urbanization, modernization and globalization have led to an increased momentum of change. The existing support systems provided by the family, the school, the peer group, and the workplace have proved to be insufficient to deal with the surging multitude of demands, expectations, roles and tasks placed on the individual s shoulders. There is the added strain of wanting to be perfect in the various roles and tasks that society imposes on the individual and social institutions such as the family. New sets of coping mechanisms have to be developed by individuals and institutions to deal with the various stresses and strains. While the burdens are increasing on a daily basis, the support networks are diminishing in inverse proportion. The earlier family and social support system is shrinking and is no longer infallible in enabling the individual to handle the vicissitudes of everyday life. The relationships which were earlier seen as inviolate and a resource for support can no longer be assumed to be permanent. Relationship crisis can cause additional anxiety for an already tense individual. The world is becoming increasingly competitive, thereby reducing the individual to managing on her own with limited alternatives available. In this tense environment, individuals are increasingly predisposed to the strains, the anxiety and the stress of competing in a world where the standards of evaluation are dynamic, and where there is little surety of what tomorrow will bring. There is a potential for conflict arising in the myriad contexts of human interaction. Since individual capacities to manage these challenges vary, we may have a set of people who are more vulnerable, and may find it difficult to cope individually. Such a stressful and unstable environment increases the need for programmes that foster the development of skilled counseling professionals to help deal with the myriad problems of life. The scope of the counselling profession is to make interventions in the arena of primary prevention; the aim of which is enhancing person-environment-fit and building resilience for effective coping. The over arching aim of counselling is to enhance well-being and the Quality of Life which encompasses the domains of Being, Belonging and Becoming. In the domain of mental health individual needs vary, determining the nature of interventions. As a result, there has been an evolution of a number of caring professions, Psychiatry, Psychology and Social Work. Counselling has emerged relatively later in the field of mental health. It is therefore imperative to draw distinctions between those who can benefit from counselling and guidance and

2 those who need more focused treatment and medication. The earlier forms of counselling have existed as part of clinical psychology and vocational counselling programmes. The past 5 to 6 years has seen the birth of Counselling Programmes for various developmental stages across the life span as well as counselling for specific issues and contexts, such as life style related problems, crises situations, violence and abuse, disability and work-place counselling. Post-graduate degree programmes in Psychology with specialization in Clinical or Counselling Psychology are available in Universities in India such as Delhi University, Bombay University and SNDT University, to name a few. Apart from degree programs, there are diploma and certificate programs offered by universities and colleges and also by private institutes. Counselling programmes focusing on Parenting and Child Counselling is offered at the post-graduate level at NIPCCD, Delhi Vocational and Career Guidance Counselling programmes are offered at the diploma and Post Graduate level in various Universities and Regional Colleges of Education of the NCERT. At the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Schools of Social Work and of Health Systems Studies, and the Centre for Life Long Learning offer certificate/diploma courses in Rehabilitation Counselling, HIV/AIDS Counselling, Holistic Health Counselling, Geriatric Counselling and a Diploma in Counselling. These Programmes have as their aim the establishment of effective practice and counselling required in special contexts. The contexts and therefore the need for counselling programmes are varied. The Centre for Human Ecology at the School of Social Sciences has expertise in dealing with developmental issues across the life span. In addition to this, the mandate of the Institute is capacity building of marginalized groups which is targeted at enhancing the quality of life of people. It was in this context that an M.A. in Counselling was proposed in the collaborative mode among the School of Social Work, the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the Centre for Human Ecology (CHE), School of Social Sciences. This course was offered for a period of three years. The M.A. in Counselling programme offered and anchored by the CHE helped develop professional counsellors who occupy a niche in the field of mental health. However, the three years of running the program indicated that there was blurring of boundaries with other mental health professionals, and an increase in competition. This competition was not always to the advantage of graduates who had a counselling degree, rather than a degree in psychology. While the course content offered more than many courses in psychology with specialization in counselling psychology, the graduates of M.A. in Counselling from TISS, lost out to those having a degree in psychology. Furthermore, as regulations in counselling and mental health develop, there will be increasing preference given to graduates in psychology.

3 The experience of running the M.A. in Counselling program for three years has increased the awareness of the necessity to convert the existing degree course into M.A. in Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology. This is because of the need to develop subject expertise in psychology, which is the parent discipline of Counselling. A degree in Applied Psychology has better acceptance and recognition in the fields of Mental Health and Psychology, improving job prospects for graduates of the program. The M.A. in Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology will be at par with other reputed universities in the country. The need for a regulatory body for professionals working in mental health and counselling is increasing in the country. There are policy level changes being proposed which will favour professionals from the discipline of psychology. Offering a programme in M.A. in Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology, will allow TISS to be a part of these macro-level changes which will have serious implications on the development of the field in India. The primary focus of the proposed M.A. in Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology is to impart education in counselling psychology that has a developmental and contextual stance. It carries forward the philosophy of the earlier programme, while strengthening the psychology components of the same. Development is seen as a continuous process across the life span, with the outcomes of earlier stages influencing the subsequent stages of growth and adaptation; so also the problems and issues that may arise in a particular stage or context, which would continue or intensify in the next stage. Counselling accordingly would be aimed at keeping in mind the developmental outcomes for the subsequent stages. In addition it will also address the requirement of individuals encountering difficulties in coping with different situations and experiences, like marriage and family, substance abuse, issues in the workplace, and overall wellbeing and quality of life. In the light of tremendous demand for professional counsellors in India and the realisation that many individuals need this professional support, the specific goal of this programme will be to equip learners to practice developmental counselling and issue-based counselling with a focus on primary prevention and therapeutic interventions. While counselling is practiced in varied contexts, documentation and research of the process and outcomes generally does not inform the field of counselling in India, barring in a few academic departments of universities and institutions. Therefore the aim of the programme is also the development of the researcher in the counsellor.

4 Educational Objectives The objectives of the proposed M.A. in Applied Psychology Specialization in Counselling Psychology degree programme are: 1) To develop a comprehensive perspective and sensitivity to comprehend the nature of human development and the varied socio-cultural contexts in which individuals are embedded. 2) To encourage a holistic understanding and sensitivity to develop the necessary attitudes and behaviour required of a counsellor. 3) To inculcate a repertoire of skills required in the making of an effective counsellor at the individual and group levels. 4) To inculcate skills to understand and document change brought about through counselling and therefore build skills in doing research related to the field of Counselling. Core competencies The student who completes this course should have the following competencies which are the hallmarks of an effective counsellor and a researcher in this field: 1. Will use principles and values in working with individuals, families and support groups in varied socio-cultural contexts. 2. Will develop qualities of - warmth, approachability, non-judgmental attitude, genuineness and patience; those are pre-requisites for counselling. 3. Will have a sound knowledge base in counselling theories and approaches. 4. Will have a repertoire of skills for counselling, like listening, empathy, effective communication, extending positive regard to the counselee and the context. 5. Will have the ability to use measures of counselling assessments appropriately and interpret them holistically. 6. Will have the ability to recognize the need to make referrals to other professionals. 7. Will have high level of integrity and professional ethics, and apply ethical principles in counselling contexts. 8. Will be able to comprehend the nature of changes brought about through counselling and the ability to document and comprehend the contribution to the knowledge base, through research in counselling and/or Human Development. 9. Will be able to plan and conduct independent research, i.e. identify research questions, demonstrate an understanding of ethical issues, choose appropriate research methods and analysis, report outcomes and identify appropriate pathways for dissemination.

5 Semester wise Listing of courses Semester Course No. Course Title Credits I FC Foundation Courses 7 CN 1 Counselling Process & Micro-skills 3 CN 2 Personal & Interpersonal Development of the Counselor I (PIDC) 2 CN 3 Theoretical approaches and techniques of psychotherapy -I 4 CN 4 Socio-cultural Context of Counselling 2 CN 5 Practicum -I 4 Total semester I credits 22 CN 6 Understanding Psychological Problems with Practical CN 7 PIDC II 1 CN 8 Ethics in Counselling Practice 1 CN 9 Human Growth & Development 2 3 CN 10 Theoretical Approaches and Techniques of Psychotherapy -II 4 CN 11 Research Methods 4 CN 12 Practicum - II 4 CN 13 Research Project - Total semester II credits 20 III CN 14 Psychological Assessment with practical CN 15 Emerging Approaches & Issues in Psychotherapy 4 CNE 1 or 2 Elective course (Theory & practical) 8 CN 13 Research Project (contd.) - Total semester III credits 16 IV CNE 1or 2 Elective course (Theory & practical) 8 CN 16 Community Mental Health Two credits theory, one credit for practical Taught seminar course Theory and practical

6 CN 13 Research Project (contd.) 6 CN 17 Internship (Compulsory) - Total semester IV credits 16 Total Credits (Sem I+II+III+IV) 74 Elective Courses: CNE 1 Counselling Children, Adolescents & Parents in Schools and other Settings (Course done over two semesters). CNE 2 Counselling Adults, Couples and Families in Various Contexts (Course done over two semesters). Foundation Course 6 credits, 45 lectures, 90 hours Module 1: Understanding Society, Culture and Identity; Module 2: Understanding Developing Economies; Module 3: India s Development Experience; Module 4: Understanding India s Political Structure 1 Credit, 15 hours Introduction to Research Methodology

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